Shopify Review: Is The Shopify Website Builder Right For You?
Shopify is one of the leading website builder applications designed specifically for ecommerce sites. It provides many different features that makes it easy to start selling almost anything online, even if you have no experience with ecommerce at all. In this review, we’ll be taking a close look at Shopify and rating its most important features.
- Templates & Design
- Ease of Use
- Shopping Cart
- Mobile Optimization
- Marketing & SEO
- In Conclusion
Let’s start off by examining some of the main features of Shopify ecommerce website builder.
- Shopping Cart -Having a powerful shopping cart is key to any ecommerce website builder. Shopify provides a secure shopping cart that allows you to securely accept payments and process orders.
- Web Hosting -In addition to being a website builder and ecommerce application, Shopify also provides customers with web hosting.
- Storefront -There are more than 100 professional themes to choose from, to accommodate all different types of businesses.
- Marketing Tools -Shopify provides SEO and other marketing tools to help you get traffic and customers to your website.
- Shopify Mobile -You can manage your website from your smartphone with convenient features such as the mobile dashboard and the credit card reader.
- Analytics -Keep track of sales, orders and website traffic from the dashboard. You can also receive detailed reports to keep track of how your site is doing.
Now let’s look more closely at some of the features offered by Shopify. Each area will then be rated on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the best.
Templates and Design
When comparing website builder options, templates and design are extremely important. This is the first thing that visitors will notice -even before they take note of what you’re selling. The more than 100 professional themes offered by Shopify make it easy to set up a quality ecommerce site in a short time, without having to do any complicated designing or programming yourself. At the same time, if you do have programming skills, you can edit the HTML and CSS so that you can customize your online store. This website builder is therefore suitable for both beginners and experienced website designers.
If you browse the Theme Store, you will find templates for all types of industries, such as:
- Health & Beauty
- Art & Photography
- Toys & Games
- Food & Drink
- Home & Garden
- Clothing & Fashion
- Sports & Recreation
The variety of themes allow you to choose a look that’s appropriate for your type of ecommerce business. There are also themes that are made for selling single products rather than a diversity of products. The Theme Store has both free and paid themes. You get a good selection of free themes to work with, but if you want something more sophisticated you can purchase it. All templates come with settings that allow you to brand and customize your storefront.
Rating for Themes: 4.5/5
Ease of Use
When it comes to using a website builder for an ecommerce site, ease of use is critical. Not only do you want to be able to set up your website quickly, you also want to be able to edit and manage it. You want to be able to process orders easily. The site should also be easy for customers to navigate.
Shopify is not a difficult website builder to use, but ecommerce sites are a little more complicated by nature than ordinary blogs or websites. This website builder has actually gotten more user friendly over the years, but it’s not quite as simple as your typical drag and drop website builder. In some ways, this is actually a good thing, because it allows you to decide exactly how you want your site to be set up. There is also ample support if you need help.
The bottom line is that Shopify is a comprehensive and robust ecommerce application and website builder, so there is a bit of a learning curve when you start out. Once you learn how everything works, though, it is quite intuitive. The finished product is also designed to be extremely customer friendly.
Rating for Ease of Use: 4/5
The shopping cart is one of the central components of any ecommerce website builder. The shopping cart is secure, versatile and customer friendly. Credit card information is protected by a 256-bit SSL certificate, which is the same type of security protocol used by major financial institutions such as banks. When you sell online, security is primary, and Shopify does a good job of ensuring this.
The shopping cart has many features that are good for both store owners and customers. You can integrate the shopping cart with 70 payment gateways, including PayPal and Bitcoin. You can offer flexible shipping costs, based on location, weight, tiered pricing or fixed pricing. You can also offer free shipping. The Professional and Unlimited plans (see below under Pricing) include abandoned checkout recovery, which is automatically sends messages to people who placed items in their shopping cart but left without making a purchase.
Rating for Shopping Cart: 5/5
Smartphones and other mobile devices are now hugely popular. In fact, more online commerce is now done via mobile devices than on computers. That’s why it’s essential for an eccommerce site to be mobile optimized. You want your customers to be able to browse your shop and place orders from their smartphones and tablets. Fortunately, Shopify website builder is mobile commerce ready. Customers can browse your store and make purchases from smartphones or tablets just as easily as from PCs.
Shopify is also designed so that you can manage your store from your own mobile devices. Shopify Mobile comes with a free credit card reader and a mobile dashboard. You can add products, change prices and fulfill orders from your phone.
Rating for Mobile Optimization: 5/5
Marketing and SEO Tools
When using a web builder to create an ecommerce site, you have to think about how you’re going to get traffic. Shopify provides some good marketing and SEO tools to help in this area. These include automatically generated sitemaps and social media integration with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. It’s even possible for visitors to your Facebook page to make purchases without leaving Facebook.
The MailChimp email marketing app makes it easy to build a customer mailing list, which can be a very powerful feature for an ecommerce business. You can also create coupons and discount codes to give customers additional incentives to purchase from your site. It’s also easy to create product reviews, which help you generate business and are SEO friendly as well.
Rating for SEO and Marketing: 4.5/5
Naturally, you have to consider the cost of an ecommerce website builder platform. Shopify provides one of the most robust and professional ecommerce tools available today. It gives you several choices when it comes to pricing. All plans include unlimited products, but some limit the amount of file storage you are permitted. All plans also come with 24/7 support, free card reader, discount code engine and no transaction fees.
- Basic -$29/month. This provides you with 1 GB file storage.
- Professional – $79/month. Comes with 5 GB storage and adds benefits such as gift cards, professional reports, and abandoned cart recovery.
- Unlimited -$179/month. Provides unlimited file storage, all of the benefits of Professional and adds advanced report builder and real time carrier shipping.
Higher priced plans give you better credit card rates. When choosing a plan, you have to consider the size of your ecommerce store and how much file storage you will need. You should also consider how important advanced features are to you. You could, of course, start out with the Basic plan and upgrade as your site gets bigger.
Rating for Pricing: 4/5.
With an ecommerce website builder, there’s a fairly good chance you will need support sooner or later. Shopify provides 24/7 support by phone, live chat and email. There’s also a very active forum where you can meet other members, ask or answer questions and get ideas on how to improve your online store. Shopify also provides a thorough knowledge base as well as Ecommerce University, which contains ebooks, videos and webinars to teach you everything you need to know about building a successful online business. Shopify has an excellent reputation for customer service, which is always a crucial issue for any ecommerce website builder.
Rating for Support: 5/5
Shopify is one of the most popular and advanced ecommerce website builder tools on the market. You have many choices if you want to build an online store. You can even find free options, such as shopping carts that come with web hosting. However, if you want to build a truly professional and feature rich ecommerce site, you will need a more advanced website builder, such as Shopify.
Shopify makes it possible to create a professional looking, secure and customer friendly ecommerce store of any kind. The pricing structure allows enough flexibility to accommodate different sized ecommerce sites. If you’re just starting out with a small or modest sized store, the Basic plan will probably be sufficient. At $29/month, this provides you with ample resources to grow your business.
Since Shopify lets you try out the system for a full 14 days, there’s nothing to lose by taking advantage of this. You may find, like many other users, that this is right ideal ecommerce website builder for you.
Overall Rating for Shopify website builder: 4.5/5